Martinez's Pregnant Wife(10)

By: Rachael Thomas

She blinked a few times and took a deep breath as a wave of nausea threatened. ‘I hope my child never goes through anything like that.’

The words were out before she could stop them. The pain of her childhood blending with the hint that his had been far from filled with love and happiness.

‘Then we want the same things, Lisa. A happy home for our child.’

She turned from him, frowning as questions cascaded over her like a torrent of floodwater. He made it sound as if he wanted to give them a chance, to build a happy marriage for their child, but how could that be when she knew he didn’t love her and, worse, that he didn’t want to be loved?

The heels of her boots made a soft tap as she walked away from him, excruciatingly aware of his gaze following her, taking in every move she made, as if he could read every question, every doubt she had and was preparing his answers, his arguments.

She turned and looked at him. ‘We don’t have to remain married to give a child that.’

He walked toward her, long strides that brought him far too close to her. ‘We owe it to our child to try.’

Her heart ached. He’d said nothing about them. She shook her head slowly. ‘No, Max.’

He touched her cheek, the palm of his hand warm, and she sucked in a deep breath. ‘We had something good once, Lisa, something that brought us back together and created a child—our child.’

Her heart thumped. Stupidly she thought he was referring to love and to her dismay her eyes fluttered closed, hope filling her.

‘That passion is still there, is it not?’ Her eyes flew open, not because of the heavy accent of his words, which reminded her of those intimate moments when she could easily fool herself that he loved her, but because of what he considered to be between them.

‘Passion isn’t enough.’ Her hot retort did little to deflect the charm that this man was renowned for.

‘But it’s something.’

She looked away, desperate to break the heady contact of his dark eyes. Beyond the small but well-equipped office she looked through the window and out over London lying beneath dark heavy clouds. She was about to turn back to him, to tell him that maybe he was right, when papers on his desk caught her attention.

The petition for divorce. On top of the acknowledgement form lay a pen, as if he’d been interrupted in the process of signing it.

* * *

Max followed her gaze and looked at his desk, seeing a story he knew she would quickly piece together. The pen lying where he’d dropped it as he’d answered the phone call from his half-brother, Raul, which had thrown everything into disarray—and that had only been the beginning.

Then he’d been poised ready to sign the papers, to end a marriage he’d made in haste, but even before the ringtone of his phone had slashed through his thoughts he’d been unable to do it. Unable to make it so very final.

‘You were going to sign them,’ Lisa said softly as she looked back to him, and the pain in her eyes clutched at him, stabbing his conscience.

The truth of it all was that even before the phone call his hand had hovered over the form, ready to sign but not able to. Still the shock of receiving them cut deeply. He’d failed. Just like his father, he’d been unable to be the man he’d promised to be.

‘Isn’t that what you wanted me to do?’ He deflected her question, throwing one back at her, and he knew that if he stood any chance of being in his child’s life he had to get Lisa to understand that they needed to remain married.

‘Yes,’ she said, but the hint of hesitation told him he was finally winning. ‘It was.’

‘And now that you are carrying my child? Do you still want me to sign them?’ He moved away from her, wanting to give her space to think but more importantly to take away the temptation to kiss her.

He looked out over London, the tension in the room notching up as her silence lengthened. He went to his desk, turning the papers round to face him and picked up the pen.

He looked at her, saw the way she bit at her lower lip, her focus on his hand. ‘The baby changes nothing, Max. We should never have married.’

‘But we did,’ he said as he put down the pen and stood tall, his arms folded across his chest. Anything to stop himself from going to her, from trying to kiss some reason into her. She was his wife and the thought of her moving on, of her meeting someone new, lashed at him like icy rain.

‘I don’t want a reluctant father for my child, Max.’

He drew in a deep breath as her words hit at his biggest insecurity. ‘Then we agree on that at least because I want to be there for my son or daughter all the time. Which is why I want to give our marriage another chance.’

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